My story begins in 2016 during my last year at university. Some of you might know from anecdote or personal experience how difficult it can be to be a Seventh-day Adventist student at a university where they do not know about the Sabbath. Well, believe it or not, this challenge brought me to where I am today: a missionary serving in the 10/40 Window.
My final exam was scheduled to be held on a Sabbath. I did everything I could to have it changed: wrote letters, met with coordinators, went from office to office. They all refused my request, saying that for this one time I should be flexible in my beliefs and that God would understand. I knew that this was not just the ultimate exam for my graduation, but also a critical test of my faith. On that Sabbath morning while at church, I pleaded with God for answers, but answers did not come just then. I made a promise in faith, however, that I would be a missionary wherever He wanted me to go if He would allow me to graduate this same year.
Well, He answered that prayer. He always answers prayers in one way or another. He answered my prayers in His time! Now here I am, fulfilling my promise to Him.
SERVING AS A MISSIONARY
I served for two years as a missionary teacher in Central America. Now I am serving in the Middle East and North Africa Union (MENA) as a missionary preaching to the students at the university where I am enrolled, in the tradition of the Waldensians in the Middle Ages who pursued secular activities as a vehicle for the preaching of the gospel.
Being in a foreign land is challenging. You miss your family, your home country, and your friends. You also have to adapt to a new culture, the people, the climate, and so forth. The only thing that you can count on is the unchangeable, unwavering love of God, and the promise He made to be with you always. With this perspective in mind, things go smoothly.
Universities are amazing mission fields. You meet people your own age, you easily make friends, and you have many opportunities to share about God with open-minded, inquisitive people. I have been serving God here for a year, and I can see His hand working in my life and the lives of my friends.
When I look back and think of all the Sabbath challenges I had at the university three years ago, I understand why God allowed me to go through that. He was simply preparing me for what I am going through now. Again I have “problems” concerning classes and exams on Sabbath, but I no longer see them as challenges but rather as opportunities God is granting me to share my faith. Several times I’ve been asked why I don’t attend classes on Sabbath, and it always ends up with me sharing about God, His creation, and the Bible
For a whole year, I didn’t go to classes on Sabbath, but still, I was able to get good grades. My classmates were quite surprised. When scheduling the yearly exams, the university administration decided to put two important exams on Sabbath. The only way I had to move them was for all my classmates to agree to move them to other dates. All of them agreed to the schedule change just for me! Even the administrators were surprised that the other students agreed to the change. They all understood how important it is for me to keep the Sabbath, and I know that God is planting some seeds here and there. I am so grateful to God for His ways of working.
My friend Fatima (not her real name) and I met in December at a Christmas party, and we became good friends because we both like to cook (and also to eat)! We began sharing cooking tips and recipes until one day she invited me for lunch at her house. We had a conversation about our beliefs and values, many of which we had in common.
We soon started seeing each other socially and spent all summer together. Today I am almost part of her family. They invite me every week to spend time with them, to go to the beach with them, or to attend social events. Her parents met mine, and now our families know and trust each other. But the amazing part is how God is working in her heart.
The first time I went to Fatima’s house for lunch we started talking about God, and especially about Sabbath. She was surprised to hear about my beliefs and how a “Christian” can have so many common values with Muslims.
As we continued talking, she decided that she would join our small group for vespers on a Friday, mostly out of curiosity. She loved it! We gave her an Arabic Bible and a Sabbath School quarterly so she could follow our study and even share her thoughts about it. It’s amazing how she switched from seeing the Bible as something corrupted by human hands to an amazing book that she wants to read every day. It went so quickly from spiritual conversations to Bible studies that I myself was surprised and not ready for it. God’s timing is never ours! Now Fatima often comes for Sabbath vespers or Sabbath morning service.
These experiences are just a few of the many where I have seen God working through me as an instrument.
I want to praise the Lord for the church members who faithfully contribute financially to the mission in MENA. We thank you for giving generously to support modern-day Waldensians who preach and live the gospel in difficult and challenging environments. It is through your financial help that we are able to work every day here in the mission field. Please remember that every time you give, it may mean a free Bible offered, a heart touched by the Word of God, or a new person giving his or her life to the Lord. Your monetary contributions are life-saving and of eternal significance. Keep us in your prayers.
TESTIMONY FROM A PAIR OF WALDENSIANS WORKING IN MENA